With just a week before the end of the fiscal year, extreme House Republicans are playing partisan games with peoples’ lives and marching our country toward a government shutdown instead of working in a bipartisan manner to keep the government open and address emergency needs for the American people.
The continuing resolution the House Republicans introduced this week makes indiscriminate cuts to programs that millions of hardworking Americans count on—violating the agreement the Speaker negotiated with President Biden and rejecting the bipartisan approach of the Senate. House Republicans have made clear that these cuts are designed to force longer-term cuts, in-line with their extreme and damaging appropriations bills. So what would it mean for the American people if House Republicans’ proposed 8% cuts were extended for the entire year?
IMPACTS OF HOUSE REPUBLICANS’ EXTREME CR:
800 fewer Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents and officers
50,000 pounds of cocaine, more than 300 pounds of fentanyl, more than 700 pounds of heroin, and more than 6,000 pounds of methamphetamine let into our country due to cuts to CBP
110,000 children would lose access to Head Start slots
65,000 children would lose access to childcare
60,000 seniors would be robbed of nutrition services like Meals on Wheels
2.1 million women, infants, and children would be waitlisted for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
Up to 40,000 fewer teachers, aides, or other key staff across the country, affecting 26 million students in schools that teach low-income students and 7.5 million students with disabilities
Nearly 70 fewer Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents, who are often some of the first federal law enforcement on the scene of a mass shooting to help local law enforcement identify at-large shooters—and 13 furlough days for ATF’s entire workforce
4,000 fewer rail safety inspection days next year alone, with nearly 11,000 fewer miles of track inspected annually—enough track to cross the United States more than 3 times
145 fewer members of local law enforcement due to cuts at the Department of Justice
Nearly 300,000 households—including 20,000 veterans and 90,000 seniors—would lose housing choice vouchers, putting them at greater risk of homelessness
A roughly $500 reduction to the maximum Pell Grant for 6.6 million students
4,000 fewer FBI personnel, including agents who investigate crimes
250,000 American workers would be denied job training and employment services—resulting in 35,000 fewer workers gaining the opportunity of a Registered Apprenticeship
50,000 workers would lose an average of $1,000 in back wages they are owed
People applying for disability benefits would have to wait 2 months longer
The MAGA Republicans’ extreme bill would cut veterans’ health care, jeopardize public safety, and raise costs for families—even as House Republicans separately push for trillions in tax cuts skewed to the wealthy and big corporations. Essentially the Republicans are holding the economy, and millions of families hostage. It comes down to:“Pretty nice economy you got here. Terrible if something bad would happen to it.” This fact sheet is supplied by the White House:
Congressional Republicans are holding the nation’s full faith and credit hostage in an effort to impose devastating cuts that would hurt veterans, raise costs for hardworking families, and hinder economic growth. The Default on America Act would cut veterans’ health care, education, Meals on Wheels, and public safety, take away health care from millions of Americans, and send manufacturing jobs overseas. Outside economists say that if enacted, the Default on America Act would “increase the likelihood” of a recession and result in 780,000 fewer jobs by the end of 2024. And House Republicans are demanding these cuts while separately advancing proposals to add over $3 trillion to deficits through tax cuts and giveaways skewed to the wealthy and big corporations.
Today, the White House released 51 fact sheets highlighting the devastating impacts of the Default on America Act on states and the District of Columbia. Nationally, the Default on America Act would have devastating impacts on the American people. It would:
Jeopardize Transportation Safety and Infrastructure
Cut Nearly 7,500 Rail Safety Inspections. At a time when train derailments are wreaking havoc on community safety, The Default on America Act would lead to nearly 7,500 fewer rail safety inspection days and over 30,000 fewer miles of track inspected annually—enough track to cross the United States nearly 10 times. Since the Norfolk Southern train derailment, bipartisan Senators have called for more rail inspections, not fewer.
Jeopardize Air Safety by Shutting Down at Least 375 Air Traffic Control Towers. The Default on America Act would shut down services at 375 federally-staffed and contract Air Traffic Control Towers across the country—undermining safety at two thirds of all U.S. airports—and increase wait times at TSA security check points by over 2 hours at large airports across the country.
Withhold Vital Transportation Infrastructure Funding. Under the Default on America Act, the United States would stand to lose nearly $5.2 billion in funding for transit and highway infrastructure projects all across the country.
Raise Costs for Families
Eliminate Preschool and Child Care Slots. The Default on America Act would mean 200,000 children lose access to Head Start slots and 180,000 children lose access to child care—undermining our children’s education and making it more difficult for parents to join the workforce and contribute to our economy.
Strip Nutrition Assistance from Women and Children. The Default on America Act would also mean 1.7 million women, infants, and children would lose vital nutrition assistance through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), increasing child poverty and hunger.
Raise Housing Costs for Americans. Under the Default on America Act, more than 600,000 families would lose access to rental assistance, including older adults, persons with disabilities, and families with children, who without rental assistance would be at risk of homelessness.
Harm Seniors, Older People, and Veterans
Threaten Medical Care for Veterans. The House Republicans’ Default on America Act would mean 30 million fewer veteran outpatient visits, and 81,000 jobs lost across the Veterans Health Administration, leaving veterans unable to get appointments for care including wellness visits, cancer screenings, mental health services, and substance use disorder treatment.
Worsen Social Security and Medicare Assistance Wait Times for Seniors. Under the House Republicans’ Default on America Act, people applying for disability benefits would have to wait at least two months longer for a decision. With fewer staff available, seniors would also be forced to endure longer wait times when they call for assistance for both Social Security and Medicare, and as many as 240 Social Security field offices could be forced to close or shorten the hours they are open to the public.
Jeopardize Food Assistance for Older Adults. House Republicans are threatening food assistance for up to 900,000 older adults with the Default on America Act’s harsh new eligibility restrictions in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Jeopardize Health Coverage and Access to Care
Jeopardize Health Coverage and Access to Care for Americans. The Default on America Act would put health insurance coverage—and health—at risk for 21 million Americans. Only one state has ever fully implemented similar policies, and nearly 1 in 4 adults subject to the policy lost their health coverage—including working people and people with serious health conditions—with no evidence of increased employment.
Deny Americans Access to Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder. The Default on America Act would deny access to opioid use disorder treatment for more than 28,000 people through the State Opioid Response grant program—denying them a potentially life-saving path to recovery.
Hurt Children and Students and Undermine Education and Job Training
Gut Funding for Low-Income Students. The Default on America Act would cut approximately $4 billion in funding for schools serving low-income children—equivalent to removing more than 60,000 teachers and specialized instructional support personnel from classrooms, impacting an estimated 26 million students.
Reduce Support for Students with Disabilities. Under the Default on America Act, as many as 7.5 million children with disabilities would face reduced supports—a cut equivalent to removing more than 48,000 teachers and related services providers from the classroom.
Slash Mental Health Support for Students. The Default on America Act would limit educators’ abilities to address student mental health issues and prevent suicide and drug use by cutting funding dedicated to creating healthy learning environments in schools by about $300 million.
Eliminate Student Debt Relief. The Default on America Act would eliminate the President’s one-time student debt relief plan, denying much needed emergency student loan relief of up to $20,000 for more than 40 million Americans recovering from the effects of the pandemic. It would also block the creation of new, more affordable student loan repayment plans such as the President’s proposal to cut undergraduate loans payments in half.
Make College More Expensive. The Default on America Act would reduce the maximum award for Pell Grants by nearly $1,000, likely eliminating it altogether for 80,000 students while making it harder for the remaining 6.6 million recipients to attend and afford college.
Cut Off Access to Workforce Development Services. The Default on America Act would result in nearly 700,000 fewer workers receiving job training and employment services provided through the Department of Labor’s workforce development funding. These harmful cuts would deprive businesses of the skilled workforce they need to thrive, and would cut off worker pathways to good jobs.
This analysis assumes an across-the-board reduction of roughly 22% compared to currently enacted FY 2023 levels for non-defense discretionary accounts. That aligns with Congressional Republicans’ Default on America Act, which would return discretionary spending to FY 2022 levels on an ongoing basis while exempting defense spending.
Further evidence that President Joe Biden’s economic plan – essentially building the economy from the bottom up and the middle out, and creating longterm, sustainable, stable growth – is working. Despite the manufactured hysteria over inflation and impending recession, the data shows otherwise – in terms of record 12 million jobs created, lowest unemployment in 50 years, real increase in wages.
Biden is also able to show progress in slowing inflation – which has been much more crippling throughout the world – and has been able to demonstrate that while his economic policies will address the national debt (a record reduction in the budget deficit), Republicans’ agenda would worsen the national debt (largely caused by the Trump/GOP tax plan that reduced taxes on the wealthiest individuals and corporations, and which added $7.4 trillion, or 25% of the national debt, in the four-year term). The Republican plan would actually add $3 trillion MORE to the national debt.
President Biden, commenting on the January CPI Report, said:
“Inflation in America is continuing to come down, which is good news for families and businesses across the country. Today’s data confirm that annual inflation has fallen for seven straight months. Inflation for food at the grocery store came down again last month. Gas prices are down about $1.60 from their peak last year. And real wages for working Americans are up over the last seven months, delivering welcome breathing room for American families. We are seeing this progress even as unemployment remains at its lowest level since 1969 and job growth remains resilient.”
“There is still more work to do as we make this transition to more steady, stable growth, and there could be setbacks along the way. That is why my unwavering focus is on continuing to lower costs for families, rebuild our supply chains, and invest in America. Right now, because of the Inflation Reduction Act we passed last year, we are lowering prescription drug costs, health care costs, and home energy costs for tens of millions of Americans all while lowering our deficits. My administration is eliminating junk fees which make it harder for American families to make ends meet at the end of the month. And we are creating manufacturing jobs all across the country, which will lower costs and rebuild our supply chains.”
“Unfortunately, many of my Republican friends in Congress seem intent on taking us in the opposite direction. They have proposed repealing the Inflation Reduction Act, which would make inflation worse, shower billions of dollars on Big Pharma, and increase the deficit. They are threatening to raise costs for seniors by threatening to cut Medicare and Social Security, and other critical programs that American seniors and families count on. And some are threatening to default on the full faith and credit of the U.S., which would raise costs and create economic chaos. I will stand firmly against any effort to make inflation worse and increase costs for families. Today’s data reinforces that we have made historic progress and are on the right track, and now we need to finish the job. “
The Congressional Republican Agenda to Increase the Debt by Over $3 Trillion
CongressionalRepublicanleaders insist that the national debt is among our nation’s greatest challenges, and reducing it is among their highest priorities. In fact, they claim that reducing the debt is so urgent it warrants endangering the entire U.S. economy through debt limit brinksmanship. But their legislative agenda to date points in a very different direction—with proposals that would increase the debt by over $3 trillion.
The first bill passed by the new Republican House majority increased the debt by $114 billion by allowing wealthy people and corporations to continue to cheat on their taxes.
Congressional Republicans proposed repealing—and are even running ads attacking—reforms President Biden signed to lower prescription drug costs. Repealing these policies would increase the amount of money Medicare pays Big Pharma, raise costs for seniors, and add $159 billion to the debt.
House Republicans have advocated and proposed repealing tax increases on large corporations that President Biden has signed into law, adding $296 billion to the debt.
Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, exposed the political logic of Congressional Republicans’ fiscal hypocrisy. He told Republicans their focus should be “not the deficit” after all: it’s to shift public discussion to cutting spending, paving the way for more tax cuts for the wealthy.
That trickle-down economic theory has never worked. President Trump and President Bush’s tax cuts addedtrillions to the debt and failed to deliver their promised benefits for the economy or American workers. And taking revenues—and even savings from cutting corporate subsidies—off the table means Congressional Republicans consistently propose deep cuts to programs seniors and middle-class and working families count on.
That’s why the American people deserve to see Congressional Republicans’ full and detailed budget plan and compare it with the President’s Budget plan to invest in America, bring down costs for families, protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and reduce the deficit, which he will release March 9.
Congressional Republicans’ Commitment to Debt Increases
The fiscal consequences of the debt increases Congressional Republicans have put at the top of their agenda are stark. After a decade, these policies, if enacted, would add over $3 trillion to the debt (accounting for debt service costs), increasing debt as a share of the economy by almost 10 percentage points. Congressional Republicans’ debt increases include:
The Tax Cheats Protection Act: House Republicans’ first bill in the new Congress would add $114 billion to the Federal debt by repealing President Biden’s legislation that cracks down on wealthy tax cheats. While working people pay 99% of taxes on their income from wages and salaries, the top 1% hides about 20% of their income from tax, including by funneling it through offshore accounts and tax havens that do not report earnings. President Biden passed a law to make our tax system fairer by cracking down on wealthy tax cheats, while protecting middle-class taxpayers and small businesses and improving taxpayer service. But 221 House Republicans voted to enable tax fraud by wealthy Americans and large corporations.
Increase Spending With a Handout to Big Pharma: House Republicans have introduced a bill to repeal the entire Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), including the reforms President Biden signed into law to lower prescription drug costs. Congressional Republicans and Big Pharma have launched a concertedattack on the IRA’s prescription drug reforms, advocating to increase both Federal spending and seniors’ costs to increase Big Pharma’s profits. Thanks to the new prescription drug law, Medicare will finally be able to negotiate drug prices, and drug companies will pay rebates to Medicare if they try to hike their prices faster than the rate of inflation. Congressional Republicans want to repeal these policies, giving a $159 billion handout to Big Pharma, raising costs for seniors, and driving up the Federal debt.
Enrich Multi-Billion Dollar Corporations: In 2020, 55 of the largest, most profitable corporations paid $0 in taxes. The President signed into law legislation to level the playing field for companies and small businesses that are already paying their fair share in taxes. Under his corporate minimum tax, the largest, most profitable corporations—those with over $1 billion in profits—have to pay a 15% minimum tax on the profits they report to their shareholders. But House Republicans—through their Inflation Reduction Act repeal bill and other statements—have made clear that they want to enrich large corporations that don’t pay their fair share. That would add $222 billion to the debt.
Increase the Tax Subsidy for Stock Buybacks: President Biden signed into law a surcharge on corporate stock buybacks, which reduces the differential tax treatment between buybacks and dividends and encourages businesses to invest in their growth and productivity as opposed to paying out corporate executives or funneling tax-preferred profits to foreign shareholders. The President in his State of the Union address proposed quadrupling the stock buybacks tax to 4% to address the continued tax advantage for buybacks and encourage long-term investment over giveaways to executives. House Republicans instead want to repeal the stock buybacks tax and let corporations continue to funnel tax-preferred profits to shareholders instead of investing in productivity and the broader economy. That would add $74 billion to the Federal debt.
Extend President Trump’s Unpaid-for Tax Giveaway to the Wealthy and Large Corporations: President Trump and Congressional Republicans deliberately sunset portions of their tax giveaway to the wealthy and large corporations. They did this to conceal how much their plan added to the debt as well as how large the tax breaks were for multi-millionaires and large corporations. Now, House RepublicanLeadership has made clear that extending President Trump’s tax giveaway to the wealthy and large corporations is one of their top priorities. An analysis by the Tax Policy Center found that doing so would mean an average tax cut of $175,000 for the top 0.1%—Americans making more than $4 million per year. That average tax cut is more than 2.5 times a typical family’s annual income. Meanwhile, extending the expiring Trump tax cuts would add $2.7 trillion to the Federal debt over 10 years.
The President supports a fiscally responsible approach to continuing current tax policies for people making less than $400,000 per year, and opposes any tax increase for this group. Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans—including the more than three quarters of them who are signatories to Grover Norquist’s tax pledge—have made clear they will oppose paying for middle-class tax cuts by raising taxes on the wealthy and large corporations.
Even Without a Budget, Congressional Republicans Are Already Showing Who Will Pay the Price
The proposals Congressional Republicans have put forward show that, even as they commit to massive tax cuts for the wealthy and large corporations, they are more than ready to raise taxes on middle-class and working families. The House Republican IRA repeal bill would cut premium tax credits that are helping an estimated 14.5 million people pay for health insurance. And the House Budget Committee last week doubled down on eliminating Affordable Care Act premium tax credits for middle-income people with high health insurance premiums: a tax increase of $7,600 per year for a typical 62-year old earning $55,000.
In addition, some Congressional Republicans continue to push a national retail sales tax bill that would repeal most existing taxes and impose a new 30% sales tax on American families. The legislation would increase debt by trillions—and cut taxes for a couple making a million dollars a year by more than $200,000—and at the same time would raise taxes by at least $7,000 for a retired couple with $60,000 in Social Security income and at least $6,000 for a single mom making $38,000, a recent analysis found.
The bottom line is: having committed to over $3 trillion in debt increases and also insisted they are committed to reducing the debt, Congressional Republicans owe the American public a complete and transparent accounting of who will foot the bill. Will it be middle-class and working families, seniors, students, or all of the above?
House Republican agenda amounts to a death panel for Medicare and Social Security:
The contrast in agendas for America between President Joe Biden and the Democrats and the Congressional Republicans could not be more stark.
While President Biden, in his State of the Union address, described his plans for building on the historic job creation he has achieved, making more progress against inflation, reducing the deficit by making the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share, and protecting Medicare and Social Security benefits from cuts, in contrast, House Republicans opened the week by announcing the latest in a long succession of attempts to undermine Medicare and Social Security.
Bloomberg reports that as part of a ransom demand for not triggering a financial meltdown, top House Republicans want an agreement that both earned benefits programs are put on track for cuts.
As The Washington Post reported in late January, House Republicans have continuously pressed for slashing Medicare and Social Security benefits in exchange for not actively harming the American economy with the first debt default in our history.
Republicans have also introduced legislation to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, which would be one of the biggest Medicare benefit cuts in history, depriving seniors of lower insulin costs, the $2,000 cap on out of pocket expenses for prescription drugs, and Medicare’s new ability to negotiate lower drug costs.
Today’s news is even more confirmation that House Republicans are taking direct aim at programs that are critical to the middle class, even as they vote for tax giveaways to the rich that would manage to increase taxes on working families while raising the deficit at the same time, the White House stated.
“With the President poised to announce new plans to keep making our economy works from the bottom up and the middle out – not the top down – House Republicans are dead-set on the opposite,” said White House spokesperson Andrew Bates. “They’re opening the week unveiling their latest in a long line of ultimatums about how they’ll act to kill jobs, businesses, and retirement accounts if they can’t cut Medicare and Social Security benefits. Meanwhile, they’re voting to worsen the deficit with tax welfare for the rich and big corporations. Think about that: they’re targeting the Medicare and Social Security benefits that middle class families pay in to earn their whole lives, then turning around and giving tax handouts to big corporations. The American people want more jobs and lower costs, not a death panel for Medicare and Social Security.”
“While President Biden shows the American people his plan to build on the unprecedented deficit reduction his leadership has already delivered, by having the richest taxpayers and big corporations pay their fair share and lowering prescription drug prices, House Republicans’ only plan is to make the deficit skyrocket by over $3 trillion with unaffordable tax giveaways to wealthy special interests,” stated White House spokesperson Andrew Bates. “They’ve even proposed raiding Medicare so that the ultra-rich can enjoy new tax welfare. Meanwhile, House Republicans are threatening to actively throw our economy into a tailspin with a default – which they have a non-negotiable, Constitutional duty to prevent – unless they can further cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It’s utterly backwards. The President is delivering on his commitment to build an economy that grows from the bottom up and the middle out – not from the top down. The House GOP seems determined to pull the American economy in the opposite direction, increasing taxes on working families while giving $3 trillion in new handouts for the rich.”
The chart below is based on the record:
10-Year Deficit Increase
Republican House-passed bill to make it easier for billionaires to cheat on their taxes
Deficit increases from Republican proposals to date
Over $3 trillion
Congressional Republicans keep calling for earned benefits on the one hand, but more tax giveaways for the rich on the other
After President Biden put Republicans on the defensive over their long-public intentions to slash Medicare and Social Security benefits, a continuing list of congressional Republicans ranging from Ron Johnson last week to Senator Mike Rounds yesterday, keep proving his point.
Whether it’s a large number of House Republicans and Rick Scott pushing to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act in what would be one of the worst Medicare benefit cuts of all time, or the Republican Study Committee proposing benefit cuts and the privatization of Social Security of last year, the receipts are undeniable. Formonths, congressional Republicans have indicated they would even use the threat of a catastrophic default to cut Medicare and Social Security benefits.
Republicans in Congress justify these intentions under the guise of fiscal responsibility. However, at the same time, they are advocating for enormous tax giveaways to rich special interests that, combined, would add over $3 trillion to the debt. Those two positions are irreconcilable.
The first vote the Republican-controlled House took was to help wealthy individuals and multinational corporations worsen inflation by cheating on their taxes. They broadly support renewing the Trump tax giveaways for the rich. And in addition to being a Medicare benefit cut, repealing the Inflation Reduction Act would at the same time be more tax welfare for the rich and a giant windfall for Big Pharma. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
“It’s irreconcilable to support Medicare and Social Security benefit cuts in the name of supposed ‘fiscal responsibility,’ while at the same time adding $3 trillion to the national debt with a seemingly endless gravy train for rich special interests,” said White House spokesperson Andrew Bates. “Prioritizing tax giveaways for the wealthy and specific handouts for Big Pharma over the Medicare and Social Security benefits that middle class families pay to earn throughout their lives is a recipe for making our economy work from the top-down. The last thing that Americans who’ve felt invisible want is cuts to lifeline programs in exchange for permanent trickle-down economics.”
Think about why Republicans would have as their singular policy to destroy the United States economy – threaten, even actually refuse to raise the debt ceiling which will destroy the nation’s “full faith and credit”, unleash higher interest rates (cost), inflict untold pain and suffering on working people and derail the American Dream for countless millions, while coddling the richest 1% by going after the IRS and law enforcement. It’s not just to secure campaign funding and show their obeisance to their masters: they think that if they destroy the economy, unleash suffering, and, if more than two decades of history are the example, that the masses will blame Joe Biden and the Democrats (after all, they control the White house and Senate), so they will win the 2024 elections.
Republicans used fraud to win the midterms and take over the House, pretending they cared about inflation and crime, when in just these first days of their rule, their first acts have been to further erode civil rights, especially women’s reproductive rights, raise costs, worsen the national debt, harm public safety. After all, you don’t hear any Republican crow about how gas prices have fallen to pre-Putin levels and inflation rates have fallen to lowest level since March 2020, meanwhile, Speaker McCarthy put insurrectionists including Marjorie Taylor Greene on the Homeland Security Committee and fraudster George Santos on the Small Business Committee and Space, Science, and Technology, and kicked Adam Schiff off Intelligence And so much worse is to come. Just how destructive is the Republican economic agenda? If the debt ceiling is not raised and the nation’s credit rating falls, interest rates will rise, the cost of everything will go up, people will lose jobs, houses, and there will be less tax revenue flowing into the government, more money flowing out, and the national debt will only get worse. The White House issued this memo:–Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
House Republican MAGA Economic Plan: Raise Taxes and Increase Costs for the Middle Class, Protect Rich Tax Cheats, and Cut Social Security & Medicare
House Republicans had a busy first week in the majority. Under President Biden’s leadership and economic plan, we just finished the best two years of job growth on record, inflation has been coming down for six straight months, gas prices are down around $1.70 from their summer peak, and President Biden’s plan to lower prescription drug costs and energy costs is going into effect.
House Republicans have a very different economic plan: make inflation worse, protect rich tax cheats, increase the deficit, raise taxes on middle-class families, and cut Social Security and Medicare. In their first week, they wasted no time in moving forward on these priorities:
Increasing Gas Prices: The new House Republican majority has proposed and will soon consider a bill that would raise gas prices and deprive Americans of relief at the pump when supply is most needed by restricting the ability to release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. After global oil prices skyrocketed because of Putin’s invasion, the President successfully used the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in 2022 to expand supply that helped lower gas prices for families here at home – while laying the groundwork to refill at a profit to taxpayers in the future. But House Republicans want to tie Presidents’ hands and hamstring one of the best supply tools we have to protect Americans from disruptions that spike gas prices.
Protecting Rich Tax Cheats:: Working people pay 99% of the taxes they owe, while the top 1 percent hides about 20% of their income from tax, including by funneling it through offshore accounts in tax havens that don’t report earnings. The President and Congressional Democrats passed legislation to make the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share, including by preventing them from cheating on the taxes they already owe.
For their very first bill, House Republicans voted last week to repeal that provision and let some super-wealthy people pay less in taxes than many hard-working Americans – including through outright tax fraud.
In addition to protecting rich tax cheats, the bill adds to the deficit. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, it increases the deficit by nearly $115 billion by enabling wealthy tax cheats to engage in additional tax fraud and avoidance. And for ordinary middle-class people who follow the law, it would mean longer waits for tax refunds. Lose-lose for working families.
Raising Taxes on the Middle-Class and Cutting Taxes on the Richest Americans with a New National Sales Tax: According to public reporting, Speaker McCarthy has agreed to bring to the floor a bill that would repeal most existing taxes and impose a new 23% national sales tax on American families. The bill would cover almost all goods and services purchases – from groceries and gas to food and medicine.
Non-partisanexperts across the ideologicalspectrum agree this proposal would raise taxes for middle-class Americans and slash them for the wealthy, while President George W. Bush’s Treasury Department analyzed a similar proposal and found it would raise taxes by thousands of dollars each year for typical middle-class families; the burden would likely be especially great for seniors and families with children. Meanwhile, people earning millions of dollars a year would see tax cuts of $100,000 or more.
Cutting Social Security and Medicare: President Biden has made clear that Congress must deal with the debt limit and they must do so without conditions. But Congressional Republicans continue to threaten to hold the nation’s full faith and credit hostage to their demands for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid cuts, and cuts to the part of the budget that funds scientific and medical research, education, consumer protection, and other basic services – even as business leaders, economists, and other experts continue to warn about the costs of their brinksmanship for the U.S. economy.
Meanwhile, militant Republicans like Rep. Andy Biggs are calling for the U.S. to default on its debt obligations (spending that has already been approved by Congress and spent), by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. But rather than cut spending, it would mean chaos, collapse, and catastrophe for the U.S. and a windfall for China, and at the same time RAISE costs and the national debt because interest rates would skyrocket, 6 million would lose their jobs, requiring more unemployment and social services.
Rep. Andy Biggs says outright, “We cannot raise the debt ceiling. Democrats have carelessly spent our taxpayer money and devalued our currency. They’ve made their bed, so they must lie in it.”
This is a stunning and unacceptable position that would lead to economic chaos, collapse, and catastrophe. And in so doing it would give our competitors, like China, an historic leg up in overtaking the American economy.
In line with every major outlet, CNN warned yesterday that failing to lift the debt ceiling would “tank the financial markets, suspend Social Security payments to senior citizens, hurt the economy and cause other chaos.”
Leading congressional Republicans have themselves admitted in the past that default would trigger an economic collapse, killing millions of jobs and decimating 401k plans. That’s why they voted to raise the debt ceiling without brinkmanship 3 times during the Trump Administration – with strong bipartisan support from their Democratic colleagues.
But hardline MAGA Republicans are now advocating for this outcome. This is despite President Biden having achieved unprecedented deficit reduction and despite House Republicans’ supports for tax giveaways to the rich that put trillions on the nation’s credit card.
Other congressional Republicans intend to use the debt limit to force an economic meltdown unless they can cut Medicare and Social Security, directly against the will of a bipartisan majority of the country.
“Rep. Biggs is dead wrong to actively support the ruin of millions of American livelihoods, 401k plans, and small businesses, all in the name of scorched earth partisanship,” said White House spokesperson Andrew Bates. “Default would needlessly plunge the country into economic chaos, collapse, and catastrophe while giving our competitors like China an historic boost against us. That’s why congressional Republicans – with strong bipartisan support from Democrats – avoided default 3 times under Donald Trump, without conditions or playing chicken with our credit rating. This president and the American people will not stand for unprecedented economic vandalism. Full stop.”
Be reminded: Trump added $7.4 TRILLION to the national debt in just 4 years – that 25% (one-fourth) of the total debt of nearly 250 years. Much of that was before pandemic, largely caused by the $2 trillion giveaway to the wealthiest and to the biggest corporations. 50 corporations, with a combined $50 billion in profit paid zero tax. It’s estimated that the wealthiest hide 20 percent of their taxable wealth.
Offering a kind of mea culpa and looking contrite, Nassau County Republicans stood united in calling for now-Congressman George Santos to resign, condemning Santos for his dishonesty foisted upon voters of the 3rd Congressional District to win election.
The action was viewed as reputational damage control to bolster Republican candidates in upcoming elections.
But aside from declaring that none of them – at the village, town, city, county or state level – would work with Santos and declaring him a person non grata at Republican events (fundraisers), Nassau County Republican Committee Chairman Joseph G. Cairo Jr., said there was little they could do. to force Santos out Cairo said he had attempted to call now-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (whose election was secured by Santos’ vote), but had yet to receive a reply.
“George Santos has disgraced the House of Representatives and the Republican Party with a veritable profusion of lies, dishonesty, misstatements and hurtful false claims,” Cairo declared. “The people of the 3rd Congressional District deserve a Congressional Representative who is honest and forthright. George Santos is not such a person. It’s time for George Santos to resign his seat in the House of Representatives. He has no place in the Nassau County Republican Committee, he’s not welcome here.”
But Santos remained defiant, tweeting as the press conference was still underway, “I was elected to serve the people of #NY03 not the party & politicians, I remain committed to doing that and regret to hear that local officials refuse to work with my office to deliver results to keep our community safe and lower the cost of living. I will NOT resign!”
North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena said she was duped into giving Santos her endorsement., “He betrayed the public trust. He is incapable and unwilling to take responsibility for his lies. There’s no way he can be an effective member of Congress.”
Congressman Anthony D’Esposito, who represents the neighboring district, stated, “Santos violated the trust of voters and people across America.” He offered to help 3rd District constituents on the matters that, according to House rules, have to be handled by a Congressman.
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, who just a few weeks ago, had Santos stand alongside as he gave a proclamation to Ukraine’s General Consul, spoke up for the people of the district who are “legitimately Jews” and those who are Holocaust survivors or their descendents. “For him to make up a story that his grandparents survived the Holocaust is beyond the pale.”
“George Santos is clearly not capable of providing the integrity to which his residents are entitled,” declared Nassau County Comptroller Elaine Phillips. “George Santos is clearly not capable of providing the integrity to which his residents are entitled. He will never be my congressman, and his resignation should be forthcoming.
Others who denounced Santos included Nassau Legislature’s Presiding Officer Rich Nicolello speaking on behalf of the 12-member majority; Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell, State Assemblyman Ed Ra, Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin, Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joe Saladino, and City of Glen Cove Mayor Pam Panzenbeck. They said that none of them would work with Santos.
State Senator Jack Martins, whose pivotal role on New York’s Independent Redistricting Commission led to the redrawing of the 3rd Congressional District from being a “safe” Democratic district that few Republicans came forward to challenge the incumbent to a competitive district, called on Santos to resign. “People of Nassau County deserve better. It’s probably impossible to shame the shameless, to get him to do what is right. But we are united that until he resigns, we will perform our responsibility to represent Nassau County but not work with Santos.”
Asked whether the Santos debacle reflected flaws in the Nassau County Republican Committee’s vetting process, Cairo said that in the 2020 election, when Democratic Congressman Tom Suozzi was running for reelection in what was regarded as a safe district that Democrats had led for some decades, Santos was one of the few Republicans who came forward.
“He was recommended by the Queens Republicans. And he submitted a written resume,” Cairo said.
In 2020, Cairo said, “the district was strongly Democrat, and Santos was the designated candidate. When Santos lost in 2020 to Tom Suozzi, “he was angry” and, like Trump, claimed that he had in fact won but blamed his loss on the committee.
Then, in 2022, the Court of Appeals changed the district so it became winnable.
Cairo insisted he did not have an inkling about the falsities into Santos’ background until “it came to light” with the New York Times investigation and other media reports.
“Santos was not someone we knew from Nassau politics. We trusted him. Shame on us.” He said he spoke to Santos once since the deception came to light and Santos has yet to make good on his promise to explain.
“Shame on me for believing him,” Cairo said, promising to revamp the vetting process in the future.
As for the donors who were essentially defrauded, he said “some have connections overseas. Some believed in Republican philosophy, especially when they saw the odds changed, and this became a competitive district we could win.”
Asked why the Republicans are coming forward now to demand Santos resign and not before he was sworn in to Congress, Blakeman said he believed in due process and giving Santos the opportunity to clear his name. “But the situation has become untenable. How do you deal with someone who is an out-and-out liar. I came to the conclusion recently that we don’t need the process to unfold. He needs help. A person who builds lies one on top of another needs help. This is a forgiving country. If he gets help, shows remorse, he will have a future.”
Santos is currently under investigation by the US Attorney’s office, the Federal Election Commission looking into suspected campaign funding violations, the New York State Attorney General, Nassau County District Attorney and Queens County District Attorney, in addition to being wanted by Brazilian authorities. And most recently, two Congressmen called for an Ethics Committee investigation, though McCarthy took care to effectively shut it down. While lying is not a basis for removal (though theoretically, only person of good character are supposed to be sworn into office and putting down a false address on the petition to be put on a ballot is a crime), Santos is also accused of federal crimes stemming from where his funding came from that enabled him to loan his campaign $700,000, when only two years ago, he reported income of $55,000 a year and was evicted for nonpayment of rent twice.
Santos also donated $126,000 to the Republican Committee, which Cairo said was returned to the committee that donated the funds, but other donations that Santos made to the county committee were spent on lawn signs and such.
This fact sheet on the impact on health care coverage, benefits and protections under the Congressional Republicans’ plans was provided by the White House:
President Biden’s top priority is to lower costs for the American people. He was proud to sign the Inflation Reduction Act into law, taking on Big Pharma to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug costs for the first time, capping seniors’ drug costs at the pharmacy and the cost of insulin, and lowering health insurance premiums for people who get coverage through the Affordable Care Act. President Biden and Congressional Democrats are committed to protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare.
Congressional Republicans have a very different vision. They have promised to strip Medicare of the right to negotiate drug prices and remove the $2,000 cap on out-of-pocket pharmacy expenses. Florida’s Republican Senator and Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee Rick Scott has championed a plan to put Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security on the chopping block every five years. Further, Congressional Republicans have repeatedly pledged to hold the American economy hostage by refusing to raise the debt limit unless they can cut Social Security and Medicare benefits that tens of millions of Americans have already paid into.
Here’s what Congressional Republicans’ plan would mean:
Part I: Putting Bedrock Programs like Social Security and Medicare on the Chopping Block and Threatening the Global Economy Unless Those Programs Are Cut
All Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security beneficiaries would see their benefits threatened under Sen. Rick Scott’s plan to put those programs on the chopping block every five years. Sen. Ron Johnson’s vision of putting them up for a vote every year would make that even worse.
Congressional Republican leaders have also repeatedly said they will use the debt limit as leverage to cut these bedrock programs. Congressional Republicans have supported Medicare and Social Security cuts including:
Transforming Medicare benefits into a voucher where seniors would get a fixed amount of money to purchase a private health plan (Better Way Plan) or offering beneficiaries the option to transition to a premium support system (Republican Study Committee FY 2023 Budget) – which could lead to hundreds or thousands of dollars in additional out of pocket costs for seniors throughout the country.
Part II: Repealing the Prescription Drug and Health Care Provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act
President Biden has worked for decades to let Medicare negotiate drug prices, and that is finally happening thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act. This will save billions of dollars for both Medicare beneficiaries, who will see reduced premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and the federal government. Kaiser Family Foundation estimates suggest that some 5 to 7 million beneficiaries each year use the types of high-cost drugs that could be subject to negotiation and will directly face higher cost sharing if these provisions are repealed.
The Inflation Reduction Act also requires prescription drug companies to pay rebates if they increase drug prices faster than inflation. According to an analysis by the Department of Health and Human Services, the cost of 1,200 prescription drugs rose faster than inflation in the last year alone – some prescription drugs increasing by $1000 in just one year. If Congressional Republicans repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, drug companies will be able to continue raising prices without paying a rebate, rather than putting that money back into Americans’ pockets.
Before the Inflation Reduction Act, Medicare beneficiaries with conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and lung disease could face thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket prescription drug costs per year. Thanks to President Biden and Congressional Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act, those costs will be capped at $2,000 per year, saving over 1 million beneficiaries an average of over $1,300 per year. If Congressional Republicans get their way and repeal the law, over 1.4 million Medicare beneficiaries will pay more each year – thousands of dollars more in some cases – for drugs at the pharmacy.
Drug manufacturers have raised insulin prices so rapidly over the last few decades that some Medicare beneficiaries struggle to afford this life-saving drug that costs less than $10 a vial to manufacture. Today, Medicare beneficiaries are enrolling in plans that must cap the out-of-pocket cost of insulin at no more than $35 per month per prescription, a protection they will lose if the law is repealed.
The Inflation Reduction Act saves 13 million Americans an average of about $800 per year on their health care premiums, by continuing the improvements to Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium tax credits enacted in the American Rescue Plan. By making health care more affordable, these improvements have expanded coverage to millions of people, helping bring the uninsured rate to an all-time low. Starting today, during Open Enrollment season, Americans can choose health insurance plans that lock in the Inflation Reduction Act’s cost savings for 2023. But Congressional Republicans would repeal this assistance, drive premiums higher, and jeopardize the progress the Biden Administration has made in driving the uninsured rate to a historic low. Older Americans would see especially large premium spikes; in most states, annual premiums for a 60-year old making $60,000 would more than double to over $10,000.
The hypocrisy and shamelessness of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans to now move forward to fill the seat vacated by Ruth Bader Ginsburg with someone who would completely undo all the progress she made toward equality and social justice in the midst of actual voting to replace the president and Congress is only matched by the hypocrisy and shamelessness of the self-professed conservative “originalist” Supreme Court justices who have the audacity to suggest they can fathom what the Founding Fathers meant and disregard all the changes since then, to actually make law. Five justices contradicting the 435 elected members of the House and 100 elected members of the Senate and the president, going further, reaching back into settled law and precedent to overturn women’s rights, civil rights, voting rights, workers rights, environmental protection, to re-form this nation as a Catholic theocracy, not much different than Islamic theocracy.
Just a reminder: McConnell invented this “rule” of not confirming – not even giving President Obama’s nominee a hearing – even though the election was 10 months away (and Scalia’s seat was vacant for 400 days) because it was an election year, and that Obama purposely looked for a moderate, not a progressive, and not someone who could conceivably serve for 50 years on the bench, in choosing Merrick Garland to replace Antonin Scalia. It really was a further demonstration of the disrespect he had for Obama, America’s first Black president, and, when Obama took office in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, McConnell said his first priority was not to help Americans seeing their lives come apart but to make Obama a “one-term president.” He stalled hundreds of judicial appointments so that he could fill them all – and hand Trump his only achievement Trump can crow about. B
McConnell’s does not necessarily see the swift filling of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat as energizing Republican turnout but because he expects to lose the White House and very possibly the Senate. Also, he wants a Supreme Court in Trump’s pocket to decide the dozens of outrageous court suits designed to suppress voting (the only way Trump can eke out a win in the Electoral College).
Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for president, spoke out in Philadelphia, paying homage to Justice Ginsburg’s life and legacy and outrage over yet another theft of a Supreme Court seat that, despite the conservative minority in the country and majority’s rejection of their positions, will control the lives of every American for generations. Presidents may come and go, but these justices serve for life.
”This appointment isn’t about the past. It’s about the future. And the people of this nation are choosing the future right now,” Biden declared. “To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise in raw political power.”
Here are Vice President’s remarks, highlighted, as prepared for delivery on September 20, 2020 in Philadelphia:
I attended mass earlier today and prayed for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her family.
The nation lost an icon, but they lost a mother, a grandmother, and a matriarch.
We know how hard that is to watch a piece of your soul absorb the cruelty and pain of that dreadful disease of cancer.
But as I spoke with her daughter and granddaughter last night, they made clear that until the very end she displayed the character and courage we would expect of her. She held their hand and gave them strength and purpose to carry on.
It’s been noted that she passed away on Rosh Hashanah.
By tradition, a person who dies during the Jewish New Year is considered a soul of great righteousness.
That was Ruth Bader Ginsgburg. A righteous soul.
It was my honor to preside over her confirmation hearings, and to strongly support her accession to the Supreme Court.
Justice Ginsburg achieved a standing few justices do. She became a presence in the lives of so many Americans, a part of the culture.
Yes there was humor in the mentions of the “Notorious RBG” and her impressive exercise routines. But it was so much more. She was a trailblazer, a role model, a source of hope, and a powerful voice for justice.
She was proof that courage and conviction and moral clarity can change not just the law, but also the world.
And I believe in the days and months and years to follow, she will continue to inspire millions of Americans all across this country. And together, we can — and we will — continue to be voices for justice in her name.
Her granddaughter said her dying words were “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
As a nation, we should heed her final call to us — not as a personal service to her, but as a service to the country at a crossroads.
There is so much at stake — the right to health care, clean air and water, and equal pay for equal work. The rights of voters, immigrants, women, and workers.
And right now, our country faces a choice. A choice about whether we can come back from the brink.
That’s what I’d like to talk about today.
Within an hour of news of her passing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Ginsburg will receive a vote in the Senate.
The exact opposite of what he said when President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace Justice Scalia in 2016.
At that time, Majority Leader McConnell made up a rule based on the fiction that I somehow believed that there should be no nomination to the Court in an election year.
It’s ridiculous. The only rule I ever followed related to Supreme Court nominations was the Constitution’s obligation for Senators to provide advice and consent to the president on judicial nominees.
But he created a new one — the McConnell Rule: absolutely no hearing and no vote for a nominee in an election year.
Period. No caveats.
And many Republican Senators agreed. Including then-Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Including the current Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsay Graham of South Carolina. Who at the time said, and I quote verbatim:
“I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsay Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination. And you could use my words against me and you’d be absolutely right.”
That is what Republicans said when Justice Scalia passed away — about nine months before Election Day that year. Now, having lost Justice Ginsburg less than seven weeks before Election Day this year — after Americans have already begun to cast their votes — they cannot unring the bell.
Having made this their standard when it served their interest, they cannot, just four years later, change course when it doesn’t serve their ends. And I’m not being naive.
I’m not speaking to President Trump, who will do whatever he wants.
I’m not speaking to Mitch McConnell, who will do what he does.
I’m speaking to those Senate Republicans out there who know deep down what is right for the country — not just for their party.
I’m speaking for the millions of Americans out there, who are already voting in this election. Millions of Americans who are voting because they know their health care hangs in the balance.
In the middle of the worst global health crisis in living memory, Donald Trump is at the Supreme Court trying to strip health coverage away from tens of millions of families and to strip away the peace of mind from more than 100 million people with pre-existing conditions.
If he succeeds, insurers could once again discriminate or drop coverage completely for people living with preexisting conditions like asthma, diabetes, and cancer.
And perhaps, most cruelly of all, if Donald Trump has his way, complications from COVID-19, like lung scarring and heart damage, could become the next deniable pre-existing condition.
Millions of Americans who are also voting because they don’t want nearly a half century of legal precedent to be overturned and lose their right to choose.
Millions of Americans who are at risk of losing their right to vote.
Millions of Dreamers who are at risk of being expelled from the only country they have ever known.
Millions of workers who are at risk of losing their collective bargaining rights.
Millions of Americans who are demanding that their voices be heard and that equal justice be guaranteed for all.
They know — we all know — what should happen now.
The voters of this country should be heard. Voting has already begun in some states.
And in just a few weeks, all the voters of this nation will be heard. They are the ones who should decide who has the power to make this appointment.
This appointment isn’t about the past. It’s about the future. And the people of this nation are choosing the future right now.
To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise in raw political power.
I don’t believe the people of this nation will stand for it.
President Trump has already made it clear this is about power. Pure and simple.
Well, the voters should make it clear on this issue and so many others: the power in this nation resides with them — the people.
And even if President Trump wants to put forward a name now, the Senate should not act on it until after the American people select their next president and the next Congress.
If Donald Trump wins the election — then the Senate should move on his selection — and weigh that nominee fairly.
But if I win the election, President Trump’s nomination should be withdrawn.
As the new President, I should be the one who nominates Justice Ginsburg’s successor, a nominee who should get a fair hearing in the Senate before a confirmation vote.
We’re in the middle of a pandemic. We’re passing 200,000 American deaths lost to this virus. Tens of millions of Americans are on unemployment.
Health care in this country hangs in the balance before the Court.
And now, in a raw political move – this president and the Republican leader have decided to jam a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court through the United States Senate.
It’s the last thing we need in this moment.
Voters have already begun casting ballots in this country.
In just a few weeks, we are going to know who the voters of this nation have chosen to be their next president.
The United States Constitution was designed to give the voters one chance – to have their voice heard on who serves on the Court.
That moment is now — and their voice should be heard. And I believe voters are going to make it clear – they will not stand for this abuse of power.
There’s also discussion about what happens if the Senate confirms — on election eve – or in a lame duck after Donald Trump loses — a successor to Justice Ginsburg.
But that discussion assumes that we lose this effort to prevent the grave wrong that Trump and McConnell are pursuing here.
And I’m not going to assume failure at this point. I believe the voices of the American people should be heard.
This fight won’t be over until the Senate votes, if it does vote.
Winning that vote — if it happens — is everything.
Action and reaction. Anger and more anger. Sorrow and frustration at the way things are.
That’s the cycle that Republican Senators will continue to perpetuate if they go down this dangerous path they have put us on.
We need to de-escalate — not escalate.
So I appeal to those few Senate Republicans — the handful who will really decide what happens.
Don’t vote to confirm anyone nominated under the circumstances President Trump and Senator McConnell have created.
Don’t go there.
Uphold your Constitutional duty — your conscience.
Cool the flames that have been engulfing our country.
We can’t keep rewriting history, scrambling norms, and ignoring our cherished system of checks and balances.
That includes this whole business of releasing a list of potential nominees that I would put forward.
It’s no wonder the Trump campaign asked that I release a list only hours after Justice Ginsburg passed away.
It’s a game to them, a play to gin up emotions and anger.
There’s a reason why no Presidential candidate other than Donald Trump has ever done such a thing.
First, putting a judge’s name on a list like that -could influence that person’s decision-making as a judge — and that’s wrong.
Second, anyone put on a list like that under these circumstances – will be the subject of unrelenting political attacks.
And because any nominee I would select would not get a hearing until 2021 at the earliest – she would endure those attacks for months on end without being able to defend herself.
Third, and finally, and perhaps most importantly, if I win, I will make my choice for the Supreme Court — not as part of a partisan election campaign — but as prior Presidents did.
Only after consulting Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate – and seeking their advice before I ask for their consent.
As everyone knows – I have made it clear that my first choice for the Supreme Court will make history as the first African American woman Justice.
I will consult with Senators in both parties about that pick, as well as with legal and civic leaders. In the end, the choice will be mine and mine alone.
But it will be the product of a process that restores our finest traditions – not the extension of one that has torn this country apart.
I’ll conclude with this.
As I’ve said in this campaign, we are in the battle for the soul of this country.
We face four historic crises. A once-in-a-generation pandemic. A devastating economic recession. The rise of white supremacy unseen since the 1960’s, and a reckoning on race long overdue. And a changing climate that is ravaging our nation as we speak.
Supreme Court decisions touch every part of these crises — every part of our lives and our future.
The last thing we need is to add a constitutional crisis that plunges us deeper into the abyss – deeper into the darkness.
If we go down this path, it would cause irreversible damage.
The infection this president has unleashed on our democracy can be fatal. Enough.
We must come together as a nation. Democrat, Republican, Independent, liberal, conservative. Everybody.
I’m not saying that we have to agree on everything. But we have to reason our way through to what ails us – as citizens, voters, and public servants. We have to act in good faith and mutual good will. In a spirit of conciliation, not confrontation.
This nation will continue to be inspired by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but we should be guided by her as well.
By her willingness to listen, to hear those she disagreed with, to respect other points of view.
Famously, Justice Ginsburg got along well with some of the most conservative justices on the Court.
And she did it without compromising her principles – or clouding her moral clarity – or losing her core principles.
If she could do this, so can we.
How we talk to one another matters. How we treat one another matters. Respecting others matters.
Justice Ginsburg proved it’s important to have a spine of steel, but it’s also important to offer an open hand — and not a closed fist — to those you disagree with.
This nation needs to come together.
I have said it many times in this election. We are the United States of America.
There’s nothing we cannot do if we do it together. Maybe Donald Trump wants to divide this nation between Red States and Blue States.
Between representing those states that vote for him and ignoring those that don’t.
I do not.
I cannot — and I will not — be that president.
I will be a president for the whole country.
For those who vote for me and those who don’t.
We need to rise to this moment, for the sake of our country we love.
As the Republican National Convention 2020 unfolds with stunning ferocity, mendacity, and fear-mongering, basically offering an Alice Through the Looking Glass Orwellian alternative reality, more and more Republicans, including Presidential appointees, legal experts and Congressmen and elected officials have allied against Trump for his corruption and abuse of the Presidency. These include former Governors John Kasich and Christine Todd Whitman and former Secretary of State Colin Powell who appeared at the Democratic National Convention in support of Joe Biden.
The growing list of administration officials supporting Biden over Trump also includes a former Homeland Security official Myles Taylor, who in a Washington Post op-ed, wrote, “Trump showed vanishingly little interest in subjects of vital national security interest, including cybersecurity, domestic terrorism and malicious foreign interference in U.S. affairs…. Because the commander in chief has diminished America’s influence overseas, today the nation has fewer friends and stronger enemies than when Trump took office…. Trump has also damaged the country in countless ways that don’t directly involve national security but, by stoking hatred and division, make Americans profoundly less safe.
“The president’s bungled response to the coronavirus pandemic is the ultimate example…His first term has been dangerously chaotic. Four more years of this are unthinkable.”
And former Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, in declaring his support for Biden for president, stated, “And so, it is because of my conservatism, and because of my belief in the Constitution, and in the separation of power, and because I am gravely concerned about the conduct and behavior of our current president that I stand here today – proudly and wholeheartedly – to endorse Joe Biden to be our next president of the United States of America. (Watch Senator Flake’s remarks HERE.
Republican Members of Congress Endorse Biden
On the first day of the Republican National Convention, former Republican Members of Congress, including former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, announced their support for Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris. In a strong rebuke to the current administration, these former members of Congress cited Trump’s corruption, destruction of democracy, blatant disregard for moral decency, and urgent need to get the country back on course as a reason why they support Biden. These former Members of Congress are supporting Joe Biden because they know what’s at stake in this election and that Trump’s failures as President have superseded partisanship.
With the support of these Members of Congress, the Biden for President is launching Republicans for Biden, a national effort to engage Republicans who are supporting Biden this fall. The campaign will encourage Republicans to organize their communities for Biden using the Vote Joe app and other relational organizing tools. More information is at joebiden.com/republicans or by texting GOP to 30330.
Republicans endorsing Joe Biden include:
Senator Jeff Flake (AZ)
Senator Gordon Humphrey (NH)
Senator John Warner (VA)
Congressman Steve Bartlett (TX)
Congressman Bill Clinger (PA)
Congressman Tom Coleman (MO)
Congressman Charlie Dent (PA)
Congressman Charles Djou (HI)
Congressman Mickey Edwards (OK)
Congressman Wayne Gilchrest (MD)
Congressman Jim Greenwood (PA)
Congressman Bob Inglis (SC)
Congressman Jim Kolbe (AZ)
Congressman Steve Kuykendall (CA)
Congressman Ray LaHood (IL)
Congressman Jim Leach (IA)
Congresswoman Susan Molinari (NY)
Congresswoman Connie Morella (MD)
Congressman Mike Parker (MS)
Congressman Jack Quinn (NY)
Congresswoman Claudine Schneider (RI)
Congressman Christopher Shays (CT)
Congressman Peter Smith (VT)
Congressman Alan Steelman (TX)
Congressman Jim Walsh (NY)
Congressman Bill Whitehurst (VA)
Congressman Dick Zimmer (NJ)
Republican Presidential Appointees, Legal Experts Support Biden
On August 25, as the Republican National Convention was underway, former Republican Presidential Appointees and legal experts came out in support of Joe Biden and against President Trump in light of the corruption and abuse of power that has pervaded the current administration. Trump has used the presidency to enrich himself — spending countless tax dollars at his own properties. Members of his administration have failed to divest themselves from conflicts of interest as promised. And, Trump has weaponized the Executive Branch against its core mission, including using the U.S. Justice Department to protect the president and his friends, over the American people and the rule of law. Trump has welcomed wealthy special interests into the Oval Office and to the highest levels of his administration to develop and guide policy.
As President, Biden is dedicated to restoring even-handed justice and the principle that no person is above the law. He would:
Return basic honesty and integrity to the U.S. Department of Justice and to Executive Branch decision-making;
Restore ethics in government;
Rein in Executive Branch financial conflicts of interest;
Reduce the corrupting influence of money in politics and make it easier for candidates of all backgrounds to run for office.
Republican appointees endorsing Joe Biden include:
Donald B. Ayer, Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General (H.W. Bush Administration)
Alan Charles Raul, Former Vice Chairman of the White House Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (W. Bush Administration), General Counsel of the Office of Management and Budget (H.W. Bush Administration), General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (H.W. Bush Administration), and Associate Counsel to the President (Reagan Administration)
Charles Fried, Former U.S. Solicitor General (Reagan Administration), Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
Stuart Gerson, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice (H.W. Bush Administration), Debate Prep Advisor to President H.W. Bush, W. Bush Presidential Transition Staff
Peter Keisler, Former U.S. Acting Attorney General (W. Bush Administration), Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice (W. Bush Administration)
Paul Rosenweig, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Department of Homeland Security (W. Bush Administration), Privacy and Security Expert
Robert Shanks, Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice (Reagan Administration)
J.W. Verret, Former Chief Economist and Senior Counsel to the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, Trump Presidential Transition Staff
And the Lincoln Project continues to produce amazing videos, ads, social media campaign. “The Lincoln Project is holding accountable those who would violate their oaths to the Constitution and would put others before Americans.”
The stated mission of the Lincoln Project: Defeat President Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box.
“We do not undertake this task lightly nor from ideological preference. Our many policy differences with national Democrats remain. However, the priority for all patriotic Americans must be a shared fidelity to the Constitution and a commitment to defeat those candidates who have abandoned their constitutional oaths, regardless of party. Electing Democrats who support the Constitution over Republicans who do not is a worthy effort.” (lincolnproject.us)
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, after a meeting with Donald Trump at the White House, chided Washington for politicizing the coronavirus pandemic, and not acting swiftly enough to provide crucial funding to states and localities, especially those – New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, California – where the outbreak of cases and the death toll has been the worst. “This hyper-partisan Washington environment is toxic for this country,” he stated in a press briefing shortly afterward at the National Press Club in Washington. He urged government to “do the right thing.”
Senate Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have called such funding a “blue state bail out,” after having allocated billions to friendly industries and funneling millions to connected business interests. He stressed that New York and California, alone, represent one-third of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, so you don’t have a reenergized economy without them. New York and California are also are the biggest donor states, sending billions of dollars more to taker-states like Kentucky than they get back in federal spending (New York sends $29 billion a year more than it gets back; Kentucky takes $29 billion more than it sends).If the states do not get federal aid, he stresseded, they will be forced to cut spending for hospitals, schools, police and fire – all the services most essential during a public health crisis – and excess thousands of workers, which won’t do the unemployment rate much good. Or, he said, the federal government can use this time as Franklin Roosevelt did during the Great Depression, to finally build the big, bold infrastructure projects that have been put on back-burners for 30 years.
Cuomo noted that the The House of Representatives has already passed its Heroes bill that includes $500 billion for states and $375 billion for locals; Medicaid funding for the most vulnerable; increased SNAP food assistance; 100 percent FEMA federal assistance; funding for testing; and repeals SALT cap to help states most affected by COVID-19, “the politically motivated first double tax in U.S. history” that was implemented by the federal tax law in 2017.
The Governor also renewed his call for Congress to pass the ‘Americans First Law’ to help prevent corporate bailouts following the COVID-19 pandemic. First proposed by the Governor on May 10th, the legislation states that a corporation cannot be eligible to receive government funding if it doesn’t maintain the same number of employees that the corporation had before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cuomo also urged President Trump to support a real public infrastructure program and to advance infrastructure projects in New York — including the LaGuardia AirTrain, the Cross-Hudson Tunnels, and the Second Avenue Subway expansion — to help supercharge the economy.
He listed a series of projects in New York State that are ready to go – including the LaGuardia AirTrain, the Cross-Hudson Tunnels, and the Second Avenue Subway expansion – that are just awaiting federal approval “to help supercharge the economy.” Significantly, Trump earlier has told agencies to dispense with regulations that are obstacles to speedy development, and during the 2016 campaign, boasted he would be the builder, with a $1 trillion infrastructure spending plan.
Cuomo also renewed his call for ‘Americans First Law’ which would require any company that takes government funding to rehire the same number of employees it had before the COVID-19 pandemic, and not use the pandemic to “right-size” or “downsize” and cut costs to increase profits.
“Washington is now debating their next bill that would aid in the reopening and the recovery. Prior bills have helped businesses, large businesses, small businesses, hotels, airlines, all sorts of business interests,” Cuomo said. “That’s great but you also have states and local governments and state governments do things like fund schools and fund hospitals. Do you really want to cut schools now? Do you really want to cut hospitals now after what we have just gone through when we are talking about a possible second wave, when we are talking about a fall with possible more cases? Do you really think we should starve state governments and cut hospitals? Would that be smart? Do you really want to cut local governments right now? That is cutting police. That is cutting fire. Is now the time to savage essential services and don’t you realize that if do you this, if you cut state and local governments and you cause chaos on the state and local level, how does that help a nation striving to recover economically?
“The Covid states, the states that bore the brunt of the Covid virus are one third of the national GDP. How can you tell one third of the country to go to heck and then think you’re going to see an economic rebound? Also, state governments, state economies, local economies, that is what the national economy is made of. What is the national economy but for a function of the states? There is no nation without the states. They tend to forget that in this town. But it is the obvious fact and we have made this mistake before.
“Again, look at history. If you don’t learn from your mistakes you are going to repeat the mistakes. It is that simple and we have seen in the past what has happened when state and local governments were savaged and how it hurt the national recovery. Wall Street Journal, not exactly a liberal publication, makes the point that on the economy cuts to employment and spending likely to weigh on growth for years. So even if you believe the rhetoric we are about reopening, we are about getting the economy back, great. Then if that is what you believe you would provide funding to the state and local governments.
“The Federal Reserve Chairman Powell, very smart man respected on both sides of the aisle, said we have evidence the global financial crisis in the years afterward where state and local government layoffs and lack of hiring weighed on economic growth. We want to reopen the economy. We want to get this national economy better than ever. Fine. Then act accordingly and act appropriately.
“This hyper-partisan Washington environment is toxic for this country. You have people saying, well don’t want to pass a bill that we continue don’t want to pass a bill that helps Democratic states. It would be a blue state bailout is what some have said. Senator McConnell, stopping blue state bailouts. Senator Scott, we’re supposed to go bail them out? That’s not right. On Fox TV, Laffer, you want us to give our money to Cuomo and New York? Hello, not this week.
“First of all, this is really an ugly, ugly sentiment. It is an un-American response. We’re still the United States of America. Those words meant something. United States of America. First of all, Mr. federal legislator, you’re nothing without the states, and you represent the United States. Not only is it ugly, it is false. It is wholly untrue, what they are saying, 100 percent. And there are facts, if you want to pose the question, which is, I think, divisive at this period of time.
“But if you want to pose the question, what states give money and what states take money? Right? There is a financial equation that is the federal government. And if you want to ask, what states give money to other states and what states take money from other states, that’s a question that Senator McConnell and Senator Scott and Mr. Laffer don’t really want to ask, because the truth, the truth is totally the opposite of what they’re saying. You look at the states that give more money to the federal government than they get back. You know the top, what they call donor state, you know what one state pays in more to the pot than they take out to the federal pot than any other state than the United States? It’s the State of New York. New York pays more every year, $29 billion more, than they take back. You know the second state, New Jersey. Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, every year, they contribute more to the federal pot. You know who takes out more than they put in from that pot? You know whose hand goes in deeper and takes out than they put in? Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida. Those are the facts, those are the numbers.
“The great irony is, the conservatives want to argue against redistribution of wealth. Why should you take money from the rich and give it to the poor? That’s exactly what you are doing. That is exactly what you have done every year. So it’s only redistribution unless you wind up getting more money. Then it’s fine, then it’s not redistribution. Take from the rich, give to the poor, that’s redistribution, yes, unless you’re the poor, Senator McConnell, Senator Scott because you were the ones who have your hand out. You were the ones who are taking more than others. Redistribution, you’re against it, except when the richer states give you more money every year. Then the great hypocrisy, they actually make the redistribution worse when they passed three years ago a provision ending what’s called state and local tax deductibility. That didn’t level the playing field.
“What they did was they took the states that were already paying more money into the federal government, the quote, unquote richer states and they increased the money they were taking from the richer states. They took another $23 billion from California and another $14 billion from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Connecticut. The hypocrisy is so insulting because when you start to talk about numbers, there is still facts. People can still add and people can still subtract and they know what they put in and they know what they take out.
“I know it’s Washington, D.C. but the truth actually still matters. Americans are smart and they find out the truth even in the fog and the blather of Washington, DC. My point to our friends in the Congress: Stop abusing New York. Stop abusing New Jersey. Stop abusing Massachusetts and Illinois and Michigan and Pennsylvania. Stop abusing the states who bore the brunt of the Covid virus through no fault of their own. Why did New York have so many cases. It’s nothing about New York. It’s because the virus came from Europe and no one in this nation told us.”
Cuomo hit back on suggestions that the state was at fault for having so many COVID-19 cases – indeed, more than almost any other nation, at 364,965, including 1129 cases added the day before, from 45 counties. Indeed, though Trump had intelligence briefings in January, he downplayed the threat and even later, only looked to China as a source, so the country’s attention was focused on cases in Washington and California.
“We were told the virus is coming from China. It’s coming from China, look to the West. We were looking to the West it came from the East. The virus left China, went to Europe. Three million Europeans come to New York, land in our airports January, February, March and bring the virus. And nobody knew. It was not New York’s job. We don’t do international, global health. It didn’t come from China. It came from Europe and we bore the brunt of it. Now, you want to hold that against us because we bore the brunt of a national mistake? And because we had more people die? We lost more lives and you want to now double the insult and the injury by saying, ‘Well, why should we help those states? Those states had more Covid deaths.’ That’s why you’re supposed to help those states because they did have more Covid deaths and this is the United States and when one state has a problem, the other states help.
“I was in the federal government for eight years. When Los Angeles had earthquakes, we helped. When the Midwest had the Red River floods, we helped. When Florida had Hurricane Andrew, we helped. When Texas had floods, we helped. When Louisiana had Hurricane Katrina, we helped. We didn’t say “well, that is Louisiana’s fault. They had the hurricane. Well, that is Texas’s fault, they had the floods.” It was nobody’s fault. And we were there to help because that is who we are and that is what we believe. What happened to that American spirit? What happened to that concept of mutuality?
“You know there still a simple premise that you can’t find in a book, and Washington hasn’t written regulations for, called doing the right thing. There is still a right thing in life. The right thing you feel inside you. The right thing is calibration of your principle and your belief and your soul and your heart and your spirit. And we do the right thing in this country, not because a law says do the right thing, but because we believe in doing the right thing. As individuals, as people, we believe in doing right by each other, by living your life by a code where you believe you are living it in an honorable way, acting on principle, and you are doing the right thing.
“Why can’t the government? Why can’t the Congress reflect the right thing principle that Americans live their life by? Pass a piece of legislation that is honorable and decent and does the right thing for all Americans. Why is that so hard? And if you want to talk about reopening the economy, then do it in a productive way. People think this economy is just going to bounce back. I don’t think it is going to bounce back. I think it will bounce back for some, and I think there will be collateral damage of others. We already know that tens of thousands of small businesses closed and probably won’t come back. We already know the large corporations are going to lay off thousands and thousands of workers, and they are going to use this pandemic as an excuse to get lean, to restructure, and they will boost their profits by reducing their payroll.
“We know it. We have been there before. We saw this in the 2008 Mortgage Crisis where the government bailed them out, the big banks that created the problem, and they used the money to pay themselves bonuses and they laid off their workers. They will do is same thing again that. That is why I propose the Americans First legislation that said a corporation can’t get a dime of government bailout unless they rehire the same number of workers they had pre-pandemic as post. Don’t take a gift from the taxpayer and then lay off Americans who are going to file for unemployment insurance paid for by the taxpayers. Don’t do that again.
“And if you want to be smart, we know that there is work to do in this nation. We have known it for years. You can fill a library with the number of books on the infrastructure and the decay of our infrastructure and how many roads and bridges have to be repaired, how this nation is grossly outpaced by nations across the world in terms of infrastructure, airports and development. Now is the time to stimulate the economy by doing that construction and doing that growth. You want to supercharge the reopening? That’s how do you it. This nation was smart enough to do it before. We did it in the midst of the great depression. We created 8 million jobs. We built an infrastructure that we’re still living on today. We’re still living on the infrastructure built by our grandparents, not even our parents. What are we going to leave our children? And now is the time to do it.
“We have major infrastructure projects in New York that are ready to go, that are desperately needed, that were desperately needed 30 years ago. Build them now. Supercharge the reopening. Grow the economy. That’s what we would do if we were smart. You’re not going to have a supercharged economy. You’re not going to see this nation get up and start running again, unless we do it together. That’s states working with other states. That’s a federal government that stands up and puts everything else aside.
“They were elected to provide good government. Nobody elected anyone to engage in partisan politics. There was a time when as a nation we were smart enough to say, “You want to play politics? That’s what a campaign is for.” Run your campaign against your opponent. Say all sorts of crazy things. That’s crazy campaign time. But when government starts, stop the politics, and do what’s right and smart. Don’t play your politics at the expense of the citizens you represent. There is no good government concept anymore. It’s politics 365 days a year. From the moment they’re elected to the moment they run again, it’s all politics. And that is poison. We have to get to a point, if only for a moment, if only for a moment, if only for a moment in response to a national crisis where we say it’s not red and blue. It’s red, white, and blue. It’s the United States and we’re going to act that way.
“In New York we say that by saying New York tough, but it’s America tough. Which is smart, and united, and disciplined, and loving, and loving.”
Cuomo said that the ninth of 10 regions, Long Island, began reopening today, joining Mid-Hudson Valley which opened yesterday, the Capital Region, Western New York, Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions, which all have met the seven metrics required for Phase One of a multi-phase process. Each of the regions has to have a monitoring commission in place to make sure reopening does not trigger new outbreaks, and that any upticks are addressed.
New York City still has more metrics to complete before it can begin its formal reopening, though the New York Stock Exchange did reopen yesterday.
Governor Cuomo: “States are responsible for the enforcement of all the procedures around reopening but at the same time the federal government has a role to play and the federal government has to do its part as we work our way through this crisis. There cannot be at national recovery if the state and local governments are not funded.”
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo hit back hard on Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaling he would block aid to states most impacted by the coronavirus. McConnell, boasted in a press release that he had no intention of bailing out “blue states.”
Cuomo, who is staring down a $15 billion budget deficit, said that without federal aid, states (which are not allowed to go bankrupt) would be forced to cut back on health workers, police, fire, teachers, mass transit and social services as the state.
“15,000 people died in New York, but they were predominantly Democratic so why help them? Don’t help New York State because it is a Democratic state? How ugly a thought. Think of what he’s saying,” Cuomo said during his April 23 press briefing.
“For crying out loud, if there were ever a time for you to put aside your pettiness, your partisanship, your political lens you see the world through – help Republicans but not Democrats – that’s not who we are. If ever there was a time for humanity, decency, now is the time.”
Except that is exactly who McConnell and the Republicans are, and demonstrated it through every crisis.
McConnell is clearly seeing the political advantage of pushing Blue States into near bankruptcy – that figured into how he constructed the 2017 Tax Act which limited the deductibility of State and Local Taxes (SALT) because it would adversely impact blue states over red ones, force state government to cut back on services or risk a tax revolt.
But Cuomo also pointed to the stupidity of that: California is the world’s 5th largest economy and accounts for 14% of US GDP; New York State is the third largest economy in US, accounting for 8% of GDP – taken together, these two states alone account for nearly one-fourth of GDP.
“If New York and California are allowed to go bankrupt, that would take down the entire economy,” Cuomo said.
Moreover, Cuomo insisted, “When it comes to fairness, New York State puts much more money into the federal pot than it takes out. At the end of the year, we put in $116 billion more than we take out. His state, Kentucky, takes out $148 billion more than they put in. He’s a federal legislator distributing the federal pot of money and New York puts in more money to fed pot than takes out, his state takes out more than it puts in. Senator McConnell, who’s getting bailed out? It’s your state that is living on the money that we generate. Your state is getting bailed out. Not my state.
“How do you not fund schools, hospitals in the midst of crisis, police, fire, healthcare – frontline – if you can’t fund the state, the state can’t fund those services. It makes no sense.” (Probably the same way you cut $500 million in funding to the World Health Organization in the midst of a pandemic.)
“The entire nation depends on what governors do to reopen, but then not fund state government? I am I going to do it alone?
“States should declare bankruptcy? That’s how to bring the national economy back? You want to see that market fall through the cellar, just let New York State declare bankruptcy, Michigan, Illinois, California declare bankruptcy. You will see a collapse of the national economy. That’s just dumb.”
The National Governors Association, a bipartisan group of governors from around the country, wrote federal officials this week pleading for $500 billion to help them make up for lost tax revenues during what they called “the most dramatic contraction of the U.S. economy since World War II.”
None of the four stimulus bills that have passed the Senate, amounting to trillions of dollars of funding, have provided any aid to states hardest hit by the virus. As it happened, these happen to be Democratic states – New York, which accounts for almost one-third of all coronavirus cases and deaths; New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois and California.
Republicans have been gleeful at sending billions to corporations and well-connected, able to skirt whatever oversight and provisions the Democrats had tried to impose (Trump said he would take the reporting requirements as a suggestion and promptly fired the Inspector General), balked at expanding unemployment assistance, and reneged on promises to help states now billions in the red because of the expenses of maintaining services as revenues have all but dried up with the lock-down of all but essential work.
Mimicking his obstruction to Obama’s recovery when refused to allocate enough money for the Recovery Act, McConnell has been content to see the budget deficit rise by $3 trillion (on top of the $1 trillion Trump added even as the economy boomed, because of the Republican tax scam) as long as it could be steered to friendly industries and donors, now expressed glee to let blue states go bankrupt.
“I think this whole business of additional assistance for state and local governments needs to be thoroughly evaluated,” McConnell said in an interview with the conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “There’s not going to be any desire on the Republican side to bail out state pensions by borrowing money from future generations.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has consistently asserted that future stimulus bills would send aid to states and localities, but McConnell is now signaling that now that they have gotten four stimulus bills amounting to a slush fund with little oversight and accountability, they will be unwilling to provide direct help to states. All of a sudden, they are concerned about rising debt. (Reminder: Republicans shut down government and threatened to refuse to raise the debt ceiling during Obama unless Obama would rescind Obamacare from the budget.)
Once this last stimulus bill passes the House, as is expected, Democrats will lose all leverage to get aid to states, localities, hospitals, workers and the unemployed.
Meanwhile, Cuomo reported on the preliminary results of the state’s first statewide survey intended to determine what percentage of the population has antibodies after being exposed to the infection.
The preliminary results suggest that 13.6% of the state has been infected (and now has antibodies), with the greatest proportion downstate: 21.2% of people in New York City, 16.7% of Long Island, 11.7% of Westchester/Rockland and 3.6% of the rest of the state. The 3,000 in the sample were randomly surveyed in grocery stores and box-stores – in other words, people who were out and about.
Based on that infection rate, it would suggest that 2.7 million New Yorkers have been infected. If that were true, the 15,500 fatalities would suggest a death rate of 0.5%. However, Cuomo stressed that the fatalities counted were only those that took place in hospitals and nursing homes, but do not include those who died at home.